Hale-Ray softball team doing 'whatever it takes' to win
By Kevin Hotary - Staff writer
East Haddam - posted Thu., Apr. 21, 2011
After 32 consecutive years of qualifying for the state softball tournament, the Nathan Hale-Ray Noises have shown that they know how to win. But a loss in last year’s conference championship game to North Branford gave the team its motto for the season, “Whatever it takes.”
“Every inning, every play, every game. Whatever it takes to be successful,” said coach Suzy Miner. “This season, the girls determined that they want to win the conference, and we want to win the state championship,” she added, and by losing only two players from last year’s team to graduation, she feels that this could be their year.
“I have seven returning seniors that all have starting varsity experience, some of them for four years. They know what my expectations are,” said Miner, who puts leadership from the seniors at the top of her list. This experience on the team provides many role models for the younger players, said Miner, and also allows her to focus more on team management than specific skill-building.
According to Miner, the team is looking forward to once again facing the North Branford team that beat them in the championship game, as well as perennial rival Coginchaug Regional High School, which didn’t lose any players from last year’s team.
Led by senior co-captains Morgan Humble and Maxie Murphy, the Noises got off to a strong start this season, opening with a 4-1 record (3-0 in conference play). Both Humble and Murphy are at or near the top in team batting, said Miner, and as seniors, they have extra motivation to win in this, their final year.
“We won a championship when they were freshman, so they know what it’s like,” said Miner.
“They’re very motivated this year. They want to do it again,” she added.
Nathan Hale-Ray High School Softball Coach Suzy Miner.
Fifth year as varsity coach.
The season ahead: With seven returning seniors, “There are a lot of expectations,” said Miner, who is confident that her team’s experience and skill will lead to a successful season. “It’s a real pleasure to have that many girls coming back that have that much experience. They naturally know what to do in situations, because they’ve been doing it for so long,” she said.
Darcy Annino, Jocelyn Dinallo, Lindsey Hermann, Morgan Humble, Maegan McNulty, Maxie Murphy and Denyell Spingola.
Morgan Humble - Number 24, Senior, Utility Infielder: A second-team All-Conference player last year, “Morgan is the definition of a utility player,” said coach Miner. She has played all of the infield positions except pitcher, is a switch-hitter and can hit for power or lay down a timely bunt. “She’s just great. She’s a really well-rounded player. Skill-wise, she’s leading us,” said Miner.
Maxie Murphy - Number 8, Senior, Centerfielder: Second-team all-conference and first team all-state for Class S last year, Murphy “is one of the best hitters in our lineup,” said coach Miner, adding that Murphy is “our emotional leader. She’s great in the dugout, getting the team focused and pumped up. Her energy is what keeps us going all the time.”